When you are choosing a new career, you want to choose one that’s in high demand with a good job outlook. If that career comes with an interesting day to day routine, a quick training period, and an affordable investment in your education, it makes things even better. The great news for those looking to enter the field-dental assistants are currently in high demand and the outlook for the future is excellent.

Male dentist with nurse in protective masks working with patient in clinic. Senior man getting treatment at dental office. Dentist and assistant during teamwork. Healthcare medicine concept

What Do Dental Assistants Do?

Many dental assistants begin their career as a chair-side assistant or a sterilization technician. Dental assistants have a variety of tasks, including preparing the dental rooms, stocking supplies, preparing charts, taking X-rays, and scheduling patient appointments. They’ll clear patient mouths using suction and handle all the equipment and materials so they are ready for the dentist. A dental assistant will usually greet the patients, ensure their comfort, and be the right hand for the dentist during procedures. Unlike hygienists, they are not responsible for examining patients, cleaning teeth, or providing dental care.  

What is the Job Outlook as a Dental Assistant?

Healthcare as a whole has a great job outlook. Dental assisting, as a career, is projected to grow 11 percent over the next ten years, which is faster than the average for career growth in other fields. About 44,000 openings for dental assistants are projected each year. Those openings will come from growth in the industry as the population ages and keeps more of their original teeth than previous generations. In addition, more and more adults are accepting the link between dental health and overall health, and are seeking preventative care rather than just going to the dentist when they have a problem. Advancements in dental technology can offer more ways to improve cosmetic issues than ever before. This increased demand for dental care means a greater need for dental assistants.

The median annual pay in 2021 was $38,660, with dental assistants able to work a regular schedule and maintain an excellent work/life balance. Dental and medical assistants have a similar salary and job outlook, with dental assistants coming in at a slightly higher salary, but the advantage to working as a dental assistant are more regular hours and a work environment focused on dental care. 

How Do You Become a Dental Assistant?

Dental assistant training will vary slightly from school to school and how the programs are structured. Some programs can be completed in as little as 12 weeks and are very affordable. Many training programs have flexible scheduling to allow those who are working full time to attend classes. 

During the training program, you will have classes as well as labs to develop clinical skills, and will learn everything you need to know to work as a dental assistant. Classes and clinics include dental anatomy and physiology, dental charting, sterilization and infection control, dental X-ray techniques, instrumentation, dental materials, and clinical procedures. The curriculum will be comprehensive enough to prepare you for any skill you will need in your work as a dental assistant. After you have completed the training program and externship, job placement assistance is available. Dental assisting school graduates will benefit from the relationships of the program to the local dental community and many dental assistant graduates will receive immediate job offers after their training is complete.  

Because dental assistants are in high demand with a great job outlook, dental practices are looking for new assistants who have completed dental assistant training programs and are ready to start a new career. If you’re ready to learn more, contact South Florida Dental Assisting School today!